Two months of shocking environmental news challenge us to a bolder action. Andy Atkins, CEO of A Rocha UK, comments.
February was the hottest since records began in the UK; ice-cream vans came out at the seaside. The UN released terrifying research on the global decline of biodiversity and its implications for future food supply. Also in February, there were wildfires on the usually wet and chilly Yorkshire moors. In March, a whale washed up in the Philippines, was found to have died of hunger from eating the dozens of plastic sacks still in its stomach. In Southern Africa monster cyclone, Idai, combined with deforestation to produce wholescale death and destruction by flooding. Back in the UK, new research suggested that the government figure of 40,000 premature deaths a year from air pollution is a considerable underestimate.
Piece these news fragments together and they form a picture of environmental destruction accelerating on nearly every front.
How is a normal Christian meant to respond? Despair would be human but is not what we are called to. Deepening our individual activity is right and can be rewarding, but it can also be lonely and slow.
As with most aspects of discipleship, we advance further and faster in company. Joining the growing Eco Church movement is one obvious way. If your church has not yet done so, why not propose it to the leadership, form a working group and get going? Another golden opportunity is the mass lobby of Parliament on climate change on 26th June, being organised by the Climate Coalition – an alliance of faith and secular groups of which A Rocha UK is a member. It’s a perfect chance for Christians to stand alongside others, witness to our creator God, and strengthen the public call for faster political action.
A cornerstone of our discipleship around the care of creation must be to do so in community – whether with our family, our home groups, our Church, or some other local or national group. There is no better way to maintain morale, share the load, exchange lessons, amplify your voice and accelerate solutions.